Further evidence of the city's beef-centric culture can be found in its restaurant scene, or more accurately, its parrilla scene. Sure, there are plenty of places for pasta and pizza, and the ethnic dining options have dramatically improved. But in general, eating out in Buenos Aires means eating beef, whether in a rustic joint like Puerto Viejo or at the upscale Cabaña Las Lilas, all varnished wood, ranch paraphernalia, and hungry-man portions cooked on an elephantine grill. This is where people take the guests they want to impress—celebrities, dignitaries, and presidents (Bill Clinton, for one). Las Lilas is owned by Octavio Caraballo, a 20th-century beef baron. Even relaxing as asado host at his ranch, Estancia Las Lilas, near Lincoln, 200 miles from Buenos Aires, he is a magnetic presence, complete with purposeful stride and kingly cigar. Cabaña Las Lilas is only a fraction of his beef empire. Caraballo also owns the country's fastest-growing brand of beef (the Las Lilas label can be found in markets all over Argentina as well as in Brazil, Chile, and Spain) and one of the largest bull-raising operations in the world. He has five estancias and a total of 120,000 acres. On this ranch alone, he manages 1,200 bulls and 4,500 steers with a team of 29 gauchos, most of whom, he says between puffs of his cigar, are third generation. ''We try to keep them in the family,'' he explains.